W38: Banana Update

In W38 in the banana landscape, the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec) reports that the Ecuadorian banana industry is recovering with increased shipments.From Jan-23 to Aug-23, the total exported boxes reached 247.96 million, reflecting a 7.17% growth compared to the same period in 2022. The European Union (EU) emerged as a significant importer, with demand surging by 22.41% year-on-year (YoY). Russia and the United States (US) also contributed to the positive trend with 5.6% and 4.99% growth, respectively. However, certain regions, including the Middle East and Eastern Europe, experienced reductions in banana exports during this period.

Furthermore, Ecuador faces an ongoing challenge with drug trafficking, which has significantly impacted the banana industry. Large quantities of drugs have been discovered in banana shipments to various countries, with recent cases including a record-breaking seizure of nearly 9.5 tons of cocaine in banana crates from Ecuador. In 2022, 47.5 tons of cocaine were found in banana shipments. To combat this issue, the Ecuadorian government has imposed stricter regulations and controls on banana exports, deactivating export permits for fictitious banana acreage. Drug traffickers exploit the lucrative banana business by creating fake export profiles and companies to smuggle drugs abroad. While the private sector has made efforts to enhance banana export security, a coordinated public sector approach is needed to address this growing threat and protect the banana industry's reputation.

During W37, in the wholesale markets of Birmingham and London, United Kingdom (UK), the average price of Colombian bananas dropped to USD 1.07 per kilogram (GBP 0.88/kg), a 9% week-on-week (WoW). While bananas from Panama remain at a stable price of USD 1.18/kg (GBP 0.97/kg), Costa Rican bananas stood at USD 1.18/kg (GBP 0.97/kg), and Ecuadorian bananas were priced at USD 1.17/kg (GBP 0.96/kg).

Fresh banana prices in Italy experienced a significant decline in September, primarily due to low demand. Wholesale rates for fresh bananas in Verona dropped by 7.9%, to USD 1.11/kg (EUR 1.05/kg) by September 11, down from USD 1.20/kg (EUR 1.14/kg) on July 31. Unfavorable weather conditions and high temperatures, combined with consumer preferences for other fruits like watermelons, melons, and stone fruits, pose challenges for the Italian banana market. Banana ripeners are struggling with narrow profit margins as costs exceed revenues. Hopes are focused on reopening schools later in September to boost banana consumption and prices.

Lastly, Spain's banana market has made a strong recovery after a 15% decline in 2022 caused by a volcanic eruption. Domestic banana production increased in 2023, and imported bananas also gained market share. Despite a record-high wholesale price of USD 2.60/kg in early Sept-23, prices later dropped by 43.07% week-on-week (WoW) to USD 1.48/kg due to improved supply. France and Portugal are the leading suppliers to Spain, capturing 74.70% of the market. 

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